Glenwood canyon opening delayed

Posted at 1:36 PM, Feb 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-18 22:58:27-05

Interstate 70 will likely remain closed through Glenwood Canyon until this weekend, the Colorado Department of Transportation said.

The highway was closed Monday night after a rock slide damaged the highway.

The Colorado Department of Transportation said it hoped to have one lane opened Thursday afternoon, but that has been delayed by weather.

"I-70 in Glenwood Canyon will not open until--at the earliest--Saturday," CDOT said on its Facebook page.


I-70 in Glenwood Canyon will not open until--at the earliest--Saturday. Inclement weather has not only delayed crews'...

Posted by Colorado Department of Transportation on Thursday, February 18, 2016

“Because of the weather today, we could not fly a helicopter to bring airbags and tools to the rock face,” CDOT Deputy Maintenance Superintendent T. J. Blake said. “Crews had to haul everything up by hand and that set us back several hours.”

Officials said the weather is also creating further movement in the rockfall area that crews are addressing.

The highway is currently closed from Glenwood Springs to Gypsum.

Repair work

There is roadway, retaining wall and bridge/guardrail damage.

CDOT said crews are also doing rock mitigation and adding netting and fencing to the area.

"All 160-linear-feet of new fencing will be installed on top of the barrier by tomorrow, helping to capture the smaller rocks,” Blake said. "The roadway has been patched on the eastbound side where we plan to run the pilot car operation; we are continuing our work to bring more rocks--large and small--down from the mountainside with the use of pry bars, airbags and some explosives.”

Reopening plan

CDOT said it now hopes to have one lane open in the canyon this weekend. When that single lane opens, a pilot car will escort drivers through a six-mile section one way, then the other.

Motorists should expect at least an hour delay getting through the canyon during the pilot car operation, CDOT said.

The one-way-at-a-time pilot car is expected to be used for about one week.

After that, said CDOT spokeswoman Tracy Trulove, officials hope to open one lane in each direction.

It could be several weeks before the damage to the roadway walls and roadway are repaired and the interstate is fully open to regular traffic operations.

Rock slide

The rock slide that damaged the highway happened just after 9 p.m. Monday at mile point 124.2, directly west of Hanging Lake Tunnel and eight miles east of Glenwood Springs. It was the second rock slide in an 18 hour period, in the same location.

The rock slide hit a semi truck. The trailer was stuck in the rubble, but no one was hurt.

Colorado State Patrol crews helped to pull out the semi Tuesday morning and cleared others that were stuck in the canyon.


The alternate route for westbound motorists is north on CO 131 at Wolcott to Steamboat Springs, west on US 40 to Craig, then south on CO 13 to Rifle and back to I-70. This is a 203-mile alternate route that will take about three hours and 50 minutes to travel. The detour adds 146 miles and about three hours to a regular trip from Wolcott to Rifle on I-70, which is 67 miles or about 45 minutes.

Independence Pass, Cottonwood Pass and several other back roads are closed during the winter.

Visiting the Aspen area

If you need to get to Aspen and are flying into Denver or Eagle, tourism officials in Aspen are recommending that you take Amtrak to get through Glenwood Canyon.


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